Week 2 for fantasy football was as unpredictable as the game itself. The one matchup that was expected to be a high-scoring shootout (Giants/Saints) yielded one offensive touchdown. Six teams did put up at least 34 points, but certainly not what most experts predicted. It was a rough week for some of the top players as well (A.J. Green: 2-38-0 as an example). Looking back at Week 2 (so far), here are the Sunday storylines:
Running Back Carnage
Fantasy owners should consider themselves lucky if they managed to get through the week without one of their running backs departing the game early, leaving them with a disappointing fantasy day. As the games continued, the list grew: Jonathan Stewart, Arian Foster, Ameer Abdullah, Doug Martin, Danny Woodhead, Thomas Rawls, Adrian Peterson...
With some of these players undergoing further testing, more information will be available as the week goes on. However, fantasy owners should be preparing to be without any of these players for Week 3, acknowledging the worst-case scenario. For some, the backups are clear: Fozzy Whittaker (Stewart), Jay Ajayi (Foster), Charles Sims (Martin), Jerrick McKinnon (Peterson) all should be owned. However, Theo Riddick (Abdullah) and Christine Michael (Rawls) are likely already owned, while the potential absence of Woodhead in San Diego could simply mean more touches for Melvin Gordon or someone else gets a shot, or it could be a combination of the two.
This isn't a waiver wire column (look for that later this week), and again, the extent of all of the injuries is unknown, but fantasy owners, take this as a lesson early in the season: handcuffs are necessary. While the handcuff wouldn't help if the starter goes down in the first quarter, if there is a debate of who is going to play the following week, as a fantasy owner of both backs, the decision becomes easy once the inactive players are announced.
New England Patriots
While we're discussing injuries, let's discuss the Patriots. On Sunday at home, Jimmy Garoppolo was doing his best Tom Brady impression in helping New England build a huge lead against Miami. In less than a half, he had thrown for 234 yards and three touchdowns. While it can be debated if the Dolphins' defense was just not that good or the Patriots' system sets up any quarterback to succeed, it was clear that Garoppolo was a solid backup to Brady.
However, just before halftime, he was drilled and left the game with what is being called a sprained AC joint. The shoulder injury should keep him out of the Thursday night matchup against the Texans. Rookie Jacoby Brissett played the rest of the game and only threw for 92 yards. He basically handed the ball off to LeGarrette Blount (who had a monster game).
The Patriots are expected to bring in another quarterback who is familiar with their system, so it's unclear who will be starting Thursday night. However, regardless of who is throwing the ball, look for the running game to be the focus of the offense. Blount and short passes to James White will be what the Patriots will look to do until Brady comes back (or Garoppolo can play, which may be a possibility in Week 4).
Rob Gronkowski missed Week 2 as well, which has been rough for fantasy owners. It is no guarantee that he'll be back for Week 3, especially because it is a short week. If he misses the game, look for Martellus Bennett to step up again as an option for whoever is at quarterback. Brissett looked for him, and a new quarterback usually relies on the tight end to bail them out. Bennett is a high TE2 if Gronk is still out.
Best Fantasy Quarterbacks?
In Week 1, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and Jameis Winston were the top three quarterbacks in fantasy (depending on scoring). Fantasy owners felt pretty good about owning any of those three. And then came Week 2. Andrew Luck attempted 40 passes against Denver, but only managed 197 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a fumble. Drew Brees tossed it 44 times and only managed 263 yards and a touchdown. Winston was even worse, throwing the ball 52 times and only completing 27 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions against an Arizona defense that the aforementioned Garoppolo had plenty of success against in his first NFL start in Week 1.
Needless to say, the top three from Week 1 are not going to be the top three in Week 2. Part of this is the matchup: Cam Newton did ok, but not great, against Denver in Week 1, and looked fantastic in Week 2. However, the reality may be that fantasy experts got it right on draft day: quarterback is deep. Owners did not need to reach for a quarterback because some weeks the ninth-round pick at QB will exceed the third-round pick.
From a fantasy perspective, don't panic. It's Week 2. Most quarterbacks will have really great weeks and some terrible weeks. It's part of the game. Don't give up on Luck, Brees or Winston just yet. And in case you were curious the top three for Week 2 (so far) are Newton, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers. Odds are those won't be the same top three for Week 3. Look at the matchups and stick with your QB as long as you're comfortable.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.